Mateo Zastro’s mother calls on assailants to surrender: ‘My pain is starting to turn to anger'

The mother of 3-year-old Mateo Zastro, fatally shot in what police say was a road-rage attack, made an emotional plea at a prayer vigil Monday night, asking those responsible to turn themselves in.

"I want you to turn yourselves in so my baby can cross over," Veronica Zastro said through tears. "It wasn’t necessary to do what you did. Turn yourselves in because my pain is starting to turn to anger."

The vigil drew dozens of community members, activists and relatives to 69th and Pulaski, where prayers were said for the community and Mateo’s family, candles were lighted and green and gold balloons, each with a special message for Mateo, were released into the air.


Mateo was riding in the family SUV with his mother and his siblings just before 8:40 p.m. Friday when a male passenger in the backseat of a red car — possibly a Dodge Charger or a Ford Mustang — fired shots in the 4400 block of West Marquette Road in West Lawn.

The boy was struck in the head and died about eight hours later at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The family of Mateo Zastro along with friends and community members release balloons during a vigil and balloon release for Mateo, who as shot and killed during a road rage incident last week, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Police said the attack stemmed from a "road-rage incident" involving the mother and another motorist that started on Cicero Avenue, though it wasn’t clear how it began.

On Sunday, community activists gathered in West Lawn to address the growing dangers of drivers with guns. The activists want officials to distribute 100,000 flyers to educate the public about the risk of road rage and shootings.

"I wasn’t following you, and then you decided to plot against me and my babies," Zastro said of the assailants, adding that Mateo’s siblings "saw their brother drop to the floor" and are now afraid to go to school or go outside.

Mateo Zastro | Legal Help Firm

Mateo "was gonna turn 4 in December, and I already started paying and planning for his birthday," Zastro said. "He doesn’t get to see 4, graduate pre-school, kindergarten, nothing.

"It hurts me so much not waking up to my baby."